Primary school placed in special measures

Ofsted

A primary school has been placed in special measures after being rated 'inadequate' in all areas by Ofsted.

A joint statement from West Sussex County Council and the chairman of governors at Downsbrook Primary, in Worthing, said the school would now be issued with an order requiring it to become a sponsored academy.

Jane Midwinter - an experienced consultant headteacher had been appointed to lead the school over the next two terms in an attempt to "strengthen the leadership and bring about rapid improvements in the quality of learning and teaching".

The statement said: "Swift action has been taken by Downsbrook Primary School and West Sussex County Council after an Ofsted inspection deemed the school to be ‘inadequate’ in all areas.

"The county council has worked with the school to put in place an action plan to ensure that the school is appropriately supported and progress will be closely monitored over the next two school terms.

"The report identified some serious challenges for the school to address as a matter of urgency including safeguarding systems and practices, improving the effectiveness of leadership and management and raising standards of teaching, learning and assessment.

"Because of these and other concerns, Ofsted decided that the school requires special measures, which means additional support will be provided to help the school improve."

As well as the appointment of Mrs Midwinter, the council and governors said additional measures had been put in place to address the concerns raised in the report:

- A review of safeguarding procedures and systems across the school has been carried out by an independent local authority expert which has led to key improvements throughout the school.

- Updated safeguarding training has been provided for all staff and governors.

- Comprehensive external audits will take place with immediate effect to ensure that all of these improvements are imbedded across the school.

Ofsted highlighted some good aspects of the school, in particular the fact children made strong progress in the Early Years and were well prepared for Year 1.

A "sense of enthusiasm to move the school forward" was also observed thanks to the work of the new leadership team.

The report also said that the governors, many of whom were new to post had improved the level of challenge they offered to leaders; had recognised areas of improvement needed across the school and were implementing actions to address these.

The statement added: "The focus for the school and West Sussex County Council now is to ensure that children receive the very best education and that safeguarding is secure.

"Robust action has been taken and will continue to be taken to achieve this and to ensure that the issues identified have been fully addressed."

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